businesslocation

If you’re looking for a business location, you may be wondering, “where on earth do I start?”

I’m going to help you figure that out. Once you’ve read this article, you will have a number of creative ideas for ways you can go about looking for your business location.

While I’ve never had to find a location for myself, mainly because I’ve never started my own main street business, I have been privy to the process when my father decided to start his own garden center. It’s laborious if you don’t know what you’re doing. But, if you’ve got a heads up on how others do it, you’re way ahead of the curve.

If you’re stuck wondering how to do your research, here’s some inspiration from the Young Entrepreneur Council.

Listen to Peter and Jonathan talk about the friendliest and least friendly cities for businesses on the fourteenth episode of The Bcast, Bplan’s official podcast (at 27:42):
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1. Pay attention to the numbers

“Of course, the best location is decided by the numbers: foot traffic, cars driving by, access from highways, visibility, parking, expendable income of visitors, etc. The real best tip is to recognize that most businesses fail within the first five years. Negotiate your overhead for lower rates to help you get through the lean years when you are still building your company.”

Nicole Munoz, Start Ranking Now

2. Reference public transportation maps

“We were fairly unscientific about our location choice but ended up with a phenomenal result. We looked on a public transportation map and got an office where all the lines intersected. The convenience of our location and breadth of cultural options located minutes from our door made all the difference.”

Brennan White, Cortex

3. Pay attention to walkability score

“A recent Huffington Post article discussed how many businesses are choosing walkable locations for their offices. This is no surprise. Picking a walkable location makes getting access to food, coffee, and other activities really convenient for your employees. The result is that employees will spend more time together (over lunch and coffee) which is great for team morale.”

Jonny Simkin, Swyft

4. Start with a vision board

“This may seem counterintuitive, but a great place to start is with a vision board. Have a meeting with the principals involved in the process, and ask them to create a list of their ideal locations. What is the best area/neighborhood? What zoning does it have? What is the cost? Write it all down, and have the team visualize the ideal space and hold on to that ideal. Then go out and search!”

Marcela DeVivo, National Debt Relief

5. Proximity to competitors could be great

“Although some people might tell you to avoid being too close to your competitors, I think it might actually be a great advantage to you. If what you are offering is better than their products, then your customers will be able to make that distinction, because they will have more choices.”

Cody McLain, SupportNinja

6. Get a destination location

“Our franchise is destination businesses, meaning our customers come to our stores for a specific experience. We look for upscale shopping centers, boutique shops, or trendy historic districts—places people want to travel to. Ample parking that is safe and well-lit is a must. We use websites like City-Data to gather important demographic information on the nearby population.”

Thomas M inieri, Planet Ballroom International, Inc.

7. Get close to your customers

“Your clients are the key to your business’s success. Ever wanted to get an important meeting with a client and just not been able to find a time that works? Having an office close to your clients means that you can easily do an early morning or late night meeting. If you’re not sure where you should be, Idealspot is a great place to start your research.”

Murray Newlands, Due.com

8. Look at traffic flow

“We look for major, identifiable intersections or those neighborhoods’ major two-way thoroughfares, preferably with a middle turning lane to make entrance easier. Being on a heavy-traffic work route is a big bonus. If employees can park off-site, and there is plenty of space for customers’ cars and bikes, we’re ready to take a more serious look at the space.”

Michael Portman, Birds Barbershop

9. Stick close to partner organizations

“Find out where the related agencies are located that you will have to do business with on a regular basis. Then, look for a location that gives you instant access to those agencies so you can get advice and have questions answered quickly. As CEO of a California biotech company, it is critical that I have speedy responses to my submissions and queries.”

Kevin Xu, Mebo International

10. Do Google research using your keywords

“Follow the direction the internet points you in. If you are looking to expand your business in other cities, get an idea of the amount of search engine traffic for your top keywords in those places. This will help you see if there is a market for your business in that particular city or area.”

Stanley Meytin, True Film Production

11. Poll your team

“Before we moved, we polled the team to find out what the must-haves were in the new space. We received many opinions, but the team unanimously required proximity to public transportation and abundant natural light (our old office had a lot of heart, but lacked good windows). When we moved in, the team was thrilled to have a better commute and the sunlight, and extra amenities were the icing on the cake.”

Shradha Agarwal, ContextMedia

12. Experience the location firsthand

“After picking possible locations, get an iced tea, go to the location, and walk around for two hours. Chat with other business owners, watch people and strike up conversations. Do you feel at home? Do pedestrians look like potential customers or employees? Will you enjoy being in this location 10+ hours every day? Do you feel a buzz/activity while you’re wandering? It’s enlightening.”

– Durga Pandey, 12 Labs

13. Look for a location that reflects the vision

“The aesthetic of a space can greatly dictate how people feel. Our company, which prepares high school students for college, is intent on finding spaces that feel aspirational and inspirational. That means no strip malls and no business parks. Our space is deliberately designed to feel like a startup, as many of our students are inspired by the idea of working at one.”

Jesse Kolber, LogicPrep

View our Guide to Starting a Business today!

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Candice Landau
Candice Landau

Candice is a freelance writer, jeweler, and digital marketing hybrid. You can learn more about her on her personal website or reach out to her on Twitter @candylandau.